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Good for Gearwheels: Award for Improved Steel Materials

In cooperation with the universities of Munich, Aachen and Kaiserslautern, the Foundation Institute of Materials Science (IWT) at the University of Bremen has spent many years on making improvements to steel materials. Recently, the cooperation project ‘High Performance Components - Innovative Concepts for Enhancing the Performance and Reliability of Highly Stressed Components’ (HiPerComp) received the Steel Innovation Prize 2015 awarded by Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl [German steel industry federation].

The research team came up with new steel materials that despite their durability are significantly less prone to slag entrapment. Until now, these non-metallic inclusions that inevitably result when manufacturing steel have been a constant headache for steel producers. These problems have now been resolved by the development of new alloying and heat treatment concepts for drive components. That is good for the teeth on gearwheels, bearings, and drive shafts, for instance.

“Improve reliability”

“Damaged components are always bad news for consumers like car owners, for instance, but also for manufacturers. They cause inconvenience and costs. More robust and consequently less damage-prone materials improve reliability, reduce default levels and costs. Modern steel materials still possess room for innovation”, says Hans-Werner Zoch, one of the HiPerComp project’s lead investigators, Professor for Materials Science at the University of Bremen, and Director of the Foundation Institute of Materials Science.

Supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

From 2010 till 2015 the project has been funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Ministry for the Economy and Energy. Numerous prominent industrial enterprises have accompanied the project. Every three years the Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl awards the prize in four different categories. This year the prize attracted a total of 578 entries from the areas of architecture, engineering, design, and research.

(f.l.) Johanna Wanka, Carolin Wickborn [FZG], Margarita Bambach [IEHK], Hendrik Kramer [WKK], Dr.-Ing. Holger Surm [IWT], Ranga Yogeshwar.